‘Mutually Assured Destruction’ through Litigation – Sergi Transformers v. CTR Manufacturing Industries

A recent judgment on the 6th of June, 2011 by the Bombay High Court (available over here and here), in the case of Sergi Transformers v. CTR Manufacturing Industries has finally concluded a series of appeals, counter-appeals plaguing this patent infringement suit at a stage when the Court had not even framed the issues. It is simply terrifying to note that the system allows for so many appeals and revisions at the stage of pleadings itself. This is the perfect recipe to ensure that the matter takes atleast 3-4 years to just reach trial.

CTR Manufacturing, the Plaintiff has sued Sergi Transformers before the District Court of Thane in January, 2010 at which time the District Court granted the Plaintiff an ex-parte injunction restraining the defendants – Sergi – from infringing the patent of the Defendant. Subsequently the trial court and the High Court, on appeal, refused to vacate the ex-parte injunction.

After this there were some more rounds of appeals on various points, a couple of which went up till the Supreme Court. The three principal issues dealt with by the present judgment are as follows:

1. Whether the Counter-Claim for revocation could be allowed even after the statutory period of limitation?

2. The matter then takes a particularly amusing turn with the plaintiffs, CTR Manufacturing alleging that the counter-claim for revocation filed by the Defendants was not even on record because it was not signed by the Defendants. The question therefore being whether the counter-claim was even on record?

3. Another point of contention pertained to whether or not the District Court had the jurisdiction to hear the counter-claim for revocation of the patent. Despite S. 104 being rather candid on the fact that once a counter-claim was filed the matter was required to be transferred to the High Court, the trial court judge had held that he did have the jurisdiction to the matter. This is possibly because the trial court judge was also of the opinion that the counter-claim was not officially on the record of the court because of the lack of signature and also because the Court was of the opinion that the counter-claim was filed after the period of limitation.

Thankfully the Bombay High Court has put an end to this entire mess by pointing out that procedure is merely the handmaiden of justice and that the entire picture has to be looked into. By taking cognizance of the counter-claim and invoking the proviso of Section 104 to transfer the entire suit to itself, the Bombay High Court will now frame issues and conduct the trial in both the infringement suit and the counter-claim for revocation.

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).


  1. Anonymous

    This case is really a classic example of the circuitous path of the justice delivery system…Now I am thinking that why did I read the judgment in the first place…

  2. Anonymous

    I have also read through the claims and counter-claims that went on based on the verdict of Thane sessions court. Opine that law in India has to be tougher for organizations like Sergi Transformers, who think if one came in India from Europe, could easily infringe Patented designs of CTR company and that in India, everything is digestible. I now understand the matter is already taken up with Hon’ble Supreme Court. After interim order of ban against Sergi for almost 3 months, to sell their product in India, the vacation bench of H’ble Supreme court lifted this ban temporarily and allowed Sergi to sell only as per their own patent and advised not to infringe into CTR’s patent. Incidentally, Sergi-3000 product was observed to be infringement of patent of CTR’s designs by the courts and ordered so accordingly. Sergi were allowed time of two months to file their reply confirmation complying this order. Very interesting case indeed!


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